Bowel cancer

Common symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • Blood in your poo, even just once
  • Looser or runnier poo (diarrhoea)
  • Pooing more often or a change in when you normally poo
  • Swelling, pain or an unexplained lump in the tummy
  • Tiredness or looking pale
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of appetite

If you have had any of these symptoms for more than four weeks, tell your doctor or health worker.  It doesn’t mean you’ve got bowel cancer – often they turn out to be something less serious.  But it’s important to tell your doctor or health worker and get them checked.

If it is bowel cancer, the earlier it’s found, the greater the chance of successful treatment.

Bowel cancer myths and facts

Myth:  Age doesn’t matter when it comes to bowel cancer.

Fact:  More than 8 out of 10 bowel cancers are diagnosed in people over 60.


Myth:  Bowel cancer only affects men.

Fact:  Bowel cancer can affect both men and women.  Almost as many women as men are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year.


Myth:  I haven’t got any pain, so I haven’t got bowel cancer.

Fact:  Not everybody that has bowel cancer experiences pain.


Myth:  I’ve had some bleeding but it’s probably just piles.

Fact:  Blood in your poo can be a sign of bowel cancer.


Myth:  I’ve been tired for a long time but it’s because I work too hard.

Fact:  Tiredness can be normal but unusual tiredness can be a symptom of bowel cancer.


Myth:  My symptoms are just normal signs of getting older.

Fact:  Getting older does cause changes, but anything unusual or long lasting should be reported to your doctor.


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You can also find out more about bowel cancer by visiting Cancer Council WA’s website.

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